(WP) Restless Souls

(WP) Restless Souls

               After
the accident, I thought the first spirit I saw was a hallucination, a side
effect of the pain meds they had me on. It happened to be the lady from the
room across the hall, who’d been hospitalized with a harsh, wracking cough.

               I’d
been limping to the bathroom when she passed, her soul rising out of her body,
dressed in a fine black dress that hugged her hips, the full skirt sparkling as
if full of the night’s stars, meeting a man in midair, dressed in a fine gray
suit. And then they disappeared, as if they’d never been.

               And
then I heard the high-pitched squealing of her machines. “The patient has
flatlined!” A doctor walked down the hall at a brisk clip, gray eyes grim and
dark.

               I tried
to shake off the woman’s death, but something inside of me lingered, worrying
at the memory like a kid with a loose tooth. It had to have been a crazy dream,
a side effect; people didn’t really see ghosts. Or perhaps I was going crazy. I’d
lost everything in the car crash that had killed my family. Maybe my mind just couldn’t
take the strain.

               Once I
was out of the hospital, I forced myself off of the meds, even when the pain
was enough to nearly knock me out. When the hallucinations didn’t persist, I thought
I was home free.

               But
that was before The Cataclysm, before the Veil thinned, and the death numbers
climbed. Everywhere I went, souls departed from their bodies in pale, opaque
clouds, and I wept, hearing their voices, feeling their emotions, receiving
flashes of their memories. I stayed in my bed for three days, my job be damned.

               But
unfortunately, I wasn’t crazy, cracked, or mad. It was our world’s rules that
had gone all screwy. Our world’s balance had been thrown all out of whack, and
by some strange twist of fate, I was dealing with the fallout of it all.

               I
couldn’t make it stop, no matter how I tried. I tried to sleep, tried to lose
myself in my hobbies, anything to distract from the constant, discordant noise
within my own head. It was tempting to call the doctor, beg for some more
medication. I’d denied it at the hospital, but the thought of an escape was so
sweet that I got halfway through dialing the number before I changed my mind.

               Then I
noticed that a spirit was hovering over my head, a young woman who looked a few
years younger than I.

               I
blinked, and my mouth opened as I met her eyes.

               “You
can see me!” She said, and her voice was a low, quiet rasp. “Oh, my God, you
can see me! Finally! I’ve been so lonely!” She was in a wedding dress, the
pristine white fabric marred by something dark and tacky, and it was completely
at odds with the sunny smile upon her face. She was still holding her bouquet:
roses, lilies, baby’s breath and peonies.

               “What
happened to you?”

               “Oh, my
ex murdered me on my wedding night,” The ghost said airily, waving her free
hand as if shooing away an errant butterfly. “But that’s all right, because
now, I finally found someone to talk to!”

               What
had I gotten myself into?

               **